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Papua: a history

Time period: 1920-2004
Number of interviews: 36
Accessibility: public
Period of interviews: 2000-2004

The collection will be public and accessible during 2023. The collection can then only be accessed in the reading room or listened to online via a protected environment (password required).
The files cannot be downloaded.


The interviews were conducted as part of Dirk Vlasblom’s publication Papua: a history. This book covers five centuries of Papua’s history, focusing on the period from 1945 onwards and with a special focus on the transfer from the Netherlands to Indonesia in 1962. The book focuses on the perspective of Papuans.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1920 – 2004.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and West Papua. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, transfer to Indonesia in 1962, occupation.


The collection has been digitised and stored permanently at an e-depot.

Papoea: Een geschiedenis

Vlasblom, D. 

University Press, Amsterdam, 2004

ISBN 90-5330-399-5
9 789053-303993

Dirk Vlasblom (1952) studied cultural anthropology in Utrecht. With a brief interruption, he has been a correspondent for NRC Handelsblad in Jakarta since 1990. He previously published Jakarta, Jakarta – Reportages from Indonesia (1993), In a warung on the South Sea – Stories from Indonesia (1998) and Anchors & Chains – A Rotterdam Chronicle (2001).
In a compelling way, the author tells the stories of Papua. For this, he drew on unique sources. Protagonists and eyewitnesses speak for themselves, often for the first time. The archives of mission and mission were systematically researched for this book, also for the first time.
With this magisterial work, the author gives the Papuans their history.

The history of South Sulawesi

KITLV / W.T. IJzereef
Time period: 1905-1986
Number of interviews: 15
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: Interview reports available
Period of interviews: 1981-1985

The material can be requested via the online catalogue of UB Leiden. The recordings can be listened to in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Medium: cassettebandjes

IJzereef, W.T., De wind en de bladeren : hiërarchie en autonomie in Bone en Polombangkeng (Zuid-Sulawesi), 1850-1950. Proefschrift Groningen, 1994. 



De Zuid-Celebes affaireKapitein Westerling en de standrechtelijke executies

Willem IJzereef

Uitgeverij de Bataafsche Leeuw B.V.

For his research on the history of South Sulawesi, in particular political-military developments during the Indonesian revolution, Willem IJzereef conducted some 15 interviews with former government officials and former military personnel.
Records of the interviews and research correspondence are also included in the archive.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1905 – 1986.
They mainly discuss Indonesia, South Sulawesi. Themes include World War II, Indonesian revolution, Domestic Administration, government officials, South Celebes affair.


Publications linked to the collection: IJzereef, W. (1984). The South Celebes affair: captain Westerling
and the summary executions. Batavian Lion.


Archive and inventory no: D H 1284. Thirteen cassette tapes have been transferred to the AV collection of the KITLV (D AUD 1085 – 1097)

Spanish Civil War

Stichting Film en Wetenschap / Djoeke Veeninga
Time period: 1936-1939
Number of interviews: 3
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 1979

The collection has not yet been digitized and therefore cannot be viewed directly at Sound & Vision. Digitization can, however, be requested from Sound & Vision via:

Medium: 2 sound tapes

Djoeke Veeninga, later known for her various interviews, interviewed three well-known intellectuals in the context of the Spanish Civil War in 1979. Two of these men fought on the side of the Republicans and all of them were important public intellectuals after the Civil War. These interviews thus deepen our knowledge not only of the Spanish Civil War but also of the intellectual climate of the twentieth century.


They include the following three individuals:

  • The communist fighter Arie van Poelgeest (1913-2000), one of the few who didn’t lose their Dutch citizenship upon returning from the Spanish Civil War. Van Poelgeest helped capture the Karl Marx barracks, where George Orwell trained. In a later battle, Van Poelgeest was wounded and met Ernest Hemingway in the hospital. Then, in 1938, he arrived in the Netherlands.
  • The Spanish man of letters Francisco Carrasquer (1915-2012), who since 1953 lived in the Netherlands. He was part of the Durruti colony during the Spanish Civil War. His brothers were also part of the anarchist movement within the Spanish Civil War. In 1949, Carrasquer went into exile, first in France and then in the Netherlands. As a university lecturer, he occupied a central place in intellectual life.
  • The anarchist Anton Constandse (1899-1985), a journalist, author and publicist. He saw the Spanish Civil War as the last opportunity in history for an anarchist revolution. As an intellectual, he possessed extensive knowledge of Spanish literature and anarchism. In the last years of his life, he could be heard weekly on various radio broadcasts in the Netherlands.

The war far away

Werkgroep Overijssel Nederlands-Indië Nieuw-Guinea (WONING)
Time period: 1942-1962
Number of interviews: 51
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: Brief summaries available
Period of interviews: 2012-2013



Beeldmateriaal kan niet direct online aangevraagd worden. Er kan contact opgenomen worden met Collectie Overijssel waarna de interviews op afspraak in de studiezalen te bekijken zijn.


Interviews were prompted by the death of Gerrit ter Haars (Overijssel Dutch East Indies New Guinea Working Group) brother in Indonesia during the Indonesian war of independence and his feeling that Dutch veterans had been wronged.

Both Collection Overijssel (formerly Historical Centre Overijssel) and NIOD facilitated the interviews
facilitated by providing cameras and tapes. The objective was to
generate more attention to this war and all those involved through the publication of a book.
Participants were found through personal networks and snowball sampling.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1942 – 1962.
They mainly discuss Indonesia, the Netherlands and New Guinea. Themes include Second
World War, Indonesian revolution, reoccupation, independence struggle, war volunteers, conscripts, veterans, Darul Islam, TNI.


De oorlog ver weg, 1942-1949
Nederlands-Indie, de Japanse bezetting en de politionele acties

Auteur: Gerrit ter Haar

Uitgever: Gigaboek, Broek op Langedijk, 2013

ISBN: 9789085483755


De oorlog ver weg, 1949-1962

verhalen via interviews van burgers, militairen die de oorlog in Indië hebben meegemaakt

Auteur: Gerrit Ter Haar

Uitgever: Abc Uitgeverij, 2015
ISBN: 9789079859238


East to West

UvA / Theo Stevens
Time period: 1942-1963
Number of interviews: 27
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1992-1995

KITLV / UB Leiden




Het materiaal kan worden aangevraagd via de online catalogus van UB Leiden. De opnames zijn te beluisteren in de Leeszaal Bijzondere Collecties.

Medium: cassettebandjes

Archive and inventory no: D H 1565. The cassette tapes have been transferred to the AV collection of the KITLV.


The interviews are part of the working material resulting from the curriculum at the UvA on the history of the former Dutch East Indies led by Theo Stevens. P. Schuurmans was allowed to use these interviews for her doctoral thesis Adapting to Holland. The collection consists of the research material belonging to Schuurmans’ thesis.

Besides transcripts of several interviews, the collection also contains a notebook with notes and completed survey forms.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1942 – 1963.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II,
Indonesian revolution, migration, repatriation.


Publications linked to the collection: Schuurmans, P. (2002). Adapting to Holland: research
on Indonesian Dutch and their experience of repatriation 1950-1963 [Doctoral thesis]. University
of Amsterdam.

Asymmetric warfare

Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie (NIMH)
Time period: 1945-1949
Number of interviews: 21
Accessibility: not (yet)
Transcripts: 10-minute summaries of part of it exist
Period of interviews: 2017-2023

After the research is completed (summer 2023), the interviews will be included in the NIMH collection.

The material is currently scattered among three researcher-archives and other repositories.

Website NIMH:



Deelstudie Asymmetrische oorlogsvoering:


Origin, objective and/or main question: Independence, decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945 – 1950 is a joint research programme of the Royal Institute of Language, Land and Ethnology (KITLV), the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH) and the
NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

The Asymmetric Warfare project is being carried out by NIMH. This project focuses on Dutch military action during the Indonesian War of Independence. Research is conducted within three sub-studies: the Dutch intelligence apparatus, the use of heavy weapons/technical force and the military-justice apparatus. For the purpose of these studies, 21 interviews were conducted.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 1949.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include Indonesian revolution,
the Dutch intelligence apparatus, technical violence, heavy weapons, the military-justice apparatus.

Interview collection The Never-Ending War

Martin Roemers en Theo Buiten
Time period: 1945-1949
Number of interviews: 6
Accessibility: beperkt openbaar
Transcripts: Uitgebreide samenvattingen beschikbaar
Period of interviews: 2004-2005

The collection is of limited public use. If interested, please contact Bronbeek.

Medium: Mini-discs

Roemers, M.

The Never-Ending War.

QV Publishers, 2006



Photographer Martin Roemers portrayed 40 veterans from Germany, Russia, Poland, Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands for his project The Never-Ending War (2004 – 2005). His research question was whether veterans, regardless of their position on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side, have more in common with each other than they do with differences. Five or six of the interviewees were Bronbeek residents. The main question was: what did you do during the war? Besides the portraits, photographs of World War II commemorations are also part of the project.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1945 – 1949.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include Indonesian revolution, regret, trauma, survival.

Webpage The Never-Ending War


Indonesia Merdeka!

Time period: 1930-1950
Number of interviews: 5
Accessibility: restricted public
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 1976


The collection cannot be found as such in the archive.
The collection is registered in an old inaccessible system. Full migration has not yet taken place. Requests for use for research purposes can be sent to Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision:


The interviews were conducted for the benefit of the three-hour documentary film Indonesia Merdeka!, which Kiers made for VPRO in 1976. The interviewees talk about the developments of the struggle for independence in Indonesia before, during and after World War II until the transfer of sovereignty by the Netherlands on 27 December 1949. The documentary was first broadcast on 1 December 1976.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1910 – 1950.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II, struggle for independence, transfer of sovereignty, colonialism, decolonisation.



  • R. Abdulghani
  • dr. Abu Hanifa
  • mr. Mohammad Hatta
  • A.H. Nasution
  • T.B. Simatupang

VPRO Documentary – Roelof Kiers (1976)

Indonesia Merdeka (1976) | Dutch East Indies/Indonesia Independence struggle


Epic about the struggle that preceded the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia in 1949. The independence struggle is reconstructed with unique historical material and through memories, fates and anecdotes of prominent eyewitnesses who witnessed the independence struggle.

Living Memories/Menghayati Kenangan

Stichting Levende Herinneringen
Time period: 1930-2007
Number of interviews: 160
Accessibility: Restricted public
Transcripts: no
Period of interviews: 2012-2016

For now, the collection is managed by media company Noterik. The collection is likely to be transferred to DANS.


If interested, please contact media company Noterik.


The Living Memories/Menghayati Kenangan Foundation recorded life stories as part of Het Gebaar (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, 2000). The aim that this would ensure that the colonial part of history would not be forgotten. The life stories of the interviewees were largely recorded chronologically.

The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1930 – 2007.
They mainly discuss the Netherlands and Indonesia. Themes include Japanese occupation, ‘bersiap’, Indonesian revolution, repatriation wave 1962, experiences in the Netherlands, resistance.

Memories of the Dutch Indies

Indisch Herinneringscentrum (IHC)
Time period: 1930-1990
Number of interviews: 88
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: partly
Period of interviews: 2012-2018

Part of the collection is housed at DANS


Het project Herinneringen aan Indië is gestart in 2012. Guido Abuys (conservator Westerbork, tevens zoon van één van de geïnterviewden) startte het project als een vrijwilligersproject. Aanleiding voor het project was het werk van Esmeralda Böhm en Guido Abuys in Duitsland in opdracht van de NOS/NTS, waar ze op zoek waren naar mensen die de ‘bersiap’ periode hebben meegemaakt. Er waren weinig verhalen beschikbaar. Dit motiveerde Guido Abuys het interviewproject Herinneringen aan Indië op te zetten. In dit project werden levensverhalen verzameld. Doelstelling was om zo veel mogelijk verhalen te verzamelen van de eerste generatie ‘Indische Nederlanders’ voor hun overlijden.
Hoofdvraag: Hoe heeft u de aanloop naar de Tweede wereldoorlog, de Indonesische onafhankelijkheidsoorlog, de periode daarna en de reis naar Nederland en aankomst in Nederland ervaren? Via de IHC-nieuwsbrief is toentertijd een oproep gedaan, mensen konden zich opgeven om geïnterviewd te worden. De meeste geïnterviewden zijn witte Nederlandse mannen. Er zijn ook enkele Indonesiërs geïnterviewd. In sommige gevallen zijn er objecten gefotografeerd van mensen die geïnterviewd zijn.
Deze zijn in de IHC beeldbank opgenomen en zullen nog herleid worden naar de interviews.


De interviews gaan in op gebeurtenissen en ervaringen in de jaren 1930 – 1990.
Er wordt voornamelijk over Indonesië en Nederland gesproken. Thema’s zijn o.a. het leven voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog, de koloniale samenleving, de Japanse inval, krijgsgevangenschap, de bevrijding, de Indonesische revolutie, repatriëring, aankomst en ontvangst in Nederland.


Beheer: De collectie wordt beheerd door het Indisch Herinneringscentrum (IHC) en is deels ondergebracht bij Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).
Toegang: De collectie is openbaar. Bij interesse kan materiaal opgevraagd en bekeken worden in het kenniscentrum van het IHC (CC 0.4).